Dsiclaimer: Not mine, though if John ever wants to leave the show...

A/N: Little idea that came to me, perhaps it will turn into something more. The italics are memories, things in the past, whatever you call them.

Holding On

"Hey, John?"


"Promise me something?"

"I can't play that game."

"Please. Just promise me one thing."

"I...I can't."

"Promise me you'll never leave me alone."

He walked into the hospital room, looking at her still form and at the beeping machines. He didn't trust himself to be in the room alone with her. Didn't trust his emotions. Her pale skin against the white sheets made him sick to his stomach and the hospital smell wasn't helping. He walked slowly to the chair beside her and dropped into it, feeling as if a huge weight was pushing him down.

"You didn't have to do that."

"Yeah, I did."

"I would've taken care of myself. I would've been fine."

"I wouldn't be though."

"My life doesn't affect you."

"It does. Believe me, it does."

"John, wait."

"I love you too much. You've gotta catch up."

He stared at her, the events playing over in his head. The interrogation. The rushed drive to the suspect's house. Breaking in. Running after him, walking fast in his case. Calling for backup. Her falling as the bullet hit her. Pulling his own gun and shooting the bastard. Running to her side, actually running, and calling for a bus as he tried to stem the flow of blood. The flow of warm life spilling onto the cold concrete. IAB talking to him. Coming to the hospital to sit with her. And now, just looking at her, wishing she would move, wondering what had gone wrong.

"St...stop. That...that tickles!"

"That's the whole idea."

"John...c'mon...please stop."

"I love you."

"I love you, too, John. I love you, too."

She was deathly still on the hospital bed, dressed in one of those horrid gowns. He could see the bandage where the gown didn't quite cover enough. He had to tear his eyes away from it as he saw the blood flowing again in his mind. Seeping through his fingers and soaking her shirt slowly. He glanced up at the machines, watching her heart rate line go up and down with an almost mechanical preciseness. He thought of how his heart had been beating so fast when she went down and how hers almost stopped forever.

"I need you, John."

"No, you don't. I'm sure you can live quite well without me."

"But I wouldn't be happy, John."

"Yeah, you would. I've yet to meet someone who needs me."

"I need you, and I'm right here. Right here in front of you. Don't let me go."

"I have to. I can't let myself break your heart."

He felt a tear slide down his cheek, but he didn't wipe it away. Just kept staring at her, willing her to wake up. Willing her to come back to him. He needed her, and he wanted her to feel it if she couldn't see it. Hear it if she couldn't feel it. Taste it if she couldn't hear it. He wanted to talk to her. Just say words, but they wouldn't come. They were stuck, deep in his throat, no matter how hard he tried to get them out. All he could do was move his lips to invisible words. To mute sounds.

"Is this what it feels like?"

"Give me your hand."


"Just...give it to me...This is what it feels like, John. This."

"It's just your hand and mine."

"Exactly. Mine and yours. Together."

He didn't want to look at her anymore. Didn't want to see her so helpless. Just yesterday he could've looked at her until he died. Whether she be sleeping, working, sitting with him. He was content just to be with her. It was something he'd never felt before, and now it was leaving. He couldn't bear seeing her like this. Against those plain sheets, unable to make them shine. Monitored by machines, unable to leave them and walk away. She was in her own prison and he wasn't sure if he held they key.

"Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'."

"Where'd you hear that?"

"A song. Why?"

"Because it's right."

"I love you, John."

"Want to dance?"

The tears were falling freely now. He never thought he'd have to sit here like this. Never thought he'd have to see her like this. And he always thought it would be her partner sitting here, not him. He felt as if he didn't deserve to be there. Like her partner had more right than he. Afterall, wasn't here partner supposed to know her better? Wasn't her partner supposed to be with her when she went down? Wasn't her partner supposed to be there to wrack his mind as to why it happened? How it happened? Why it was her instead of him? How he let her fall without him behind her?

"He doesn't get it sometimes."

"I'm sure he tries."

"Still, he can't understand it. What it's like."

"And how can I know?"

"Because you know what to do. He trips over himself."

"So do I."

"Yeah, but you get back up, John."

He wanted to talk so bad. Wanted her to hear what he had to say. What he needed to say. But his throat wouldn't work with him. Wouldn't allow him the strength to say the words. Makes the sounds. He wanted to curse it for it's trouble, but he knew it wouldn't help. Reaching out his hand, he took hers in his, feeling the smooth contours he knew so well. He tried to speak again, just one last time, he decided, before giving up.

"I need you, too," he whispered, surprised at the sound, but glad. "I know what it feels like. This," he held up her hand, "is what it feels like. You and me. Together." He took a shuddering breath. "I want to tickle you again. I want to dance with you again." He looked at her face and brushed a strand of hair to the side. "I need you to help me get back up when I fall. And I'd never leave you alone. I'm right here for you. I kept that promise, despite not wanting to make it in the first place. I love you, Liv. I love you too much to let you lay here like this." He sniffed, his whisper hoarse from tears and emotion. "I love you. Come back."